In our economy that some call free enterprise and others call capitalism, the concentration of ownership in which fewer and fewer own more and more took a giant step forward in late August when Bank of America Corp. acquired a $2 billion equity stake in Countrywide Financial Corp. The meaning of this move, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, “is to dispel a crisis of confidence among creditors and investors in the nation’s largest home mortgage lender.”
But, there is a deeper meaning behind this move in terms of what is happening in the world of mortgages. As the Journal notes, “The move illustrates how among the current shake out among mortgage lenders, some financial heavyweights — including Bank of America and Wells Fargo & Co. — are gaining a firmer grip on the home mortgage business. Even as smaller rivals with less secure financing and capital bases fall by the wayside or are forced to retrench.”
The concentration of ownership in the home lending business means that a handful of lenders will be in a position to dictate the terms of future mortgages. Once more, our nation will be engulfed in a struggle between those who earn more than they own and those who own more than they earn. Karl Marx called it “the class struggle.”
But how can workers call a strike against a company that gets its work done in a factory on the other side of the globe?